Leesport, PA, July 11, 2016 – Bower & Branch, Trees for Life, a group of 52 independent garden centers in the Northeast and Midwest, pledged this month to grow their e-commerce brand by an additional 50 to 100 garden centers by 2017. Sid Raisch, retail expert and consultant to independents across the country, will lead the growth as Bower & Branch’s president and CEO.
“Sid has been consulting with me on this journey from the beginning," says Don Eaton, founder of Bower & Branch. "Garden centers and growers like Eaton Farms needed to do something drastic to get the industry headed to where consumers are, and we knew that e-commerce was the way. At first this helped us serve our customers, then it grew into something much bigger and more powerful. That’s tough to execute on your own, but when you’re part of a group like Bower & Branch that prioritizes creating an exceptional online, social and in-store experience, then real change can happen.”
Bower & Branch makes it possible for homeowners to find trees they are looking for online, along with the services and support they need from their local independent garden centers. Today Bower & Branch sales could happen from the floor of the garden center or from the comfort of a customer’s living room.
“Bower & Branch is changing the game in what has been a flat category for most garden centers for years,” Raisch said. “A high performing tree category has been unheard of until now. Members capture sales that otherwise are completely lost and that is happening with less onsite inventory, a broader selection and greater depth from Bower & Branch."
Raisch’s background in the independent garden center industry on both the retail and supply side will be instrumental to the expansion of Bower & Branch into other regions. He has been a vital business partner to independents as the president of Horticultural Advantage, and will continue to act as a consulting service provider to The Garden Center Group.
"As the announcement states, Sid has been consulting with Bower & Branch throughout their development and this puts him more out front in their efforts," said Danny Summers, managing director of The Garden Center Group. "Also as the announcement states, Sid will continue to be a service provider for The Group. Sid is committed to serve our retail clients as before and continue to contribute to articles and GROUPtalk content, Fall Event presentations and more."
According to Bower & Branch, in one year, more than 67,000 customers shopped at bowerandbranch.com and online sales increased 300 percent.
“Sid has a unique perspective of garden retailing and the ability to identify opportunities that bring about success," Summers said. "He has built strong relationships throughout our industry over the years because he understands the nature and nuances of the business. He’s earned our trust and ushered in vital change to the industry."
Raisch will continue to reside in Hillsboro, Ohio, with his wife and two of their sons. His son Owen Raisch will continue with leading the Advantage Development System moving forward, with a focus on building and supporting local independent business alliances, providing business and leadership development, marketing, merchandise management and sales support to small businesses in all segments.